By Robert Wallace
Stephen Gordon has an interesting piece at The Next Right where he responds to a question he’s been hearing a lot these days:
Lately, I’m frequently asked by Republican campaigns, party executives, consultants and think-tank leaders how to better connect with Tea Party or libertarian voters.
Stephen’s advice is good. He tells the GOP that if they want the support of the Tea Party movement they need to walk the walk rather than simply talk the talk, and he outlines ways in which the GOP can reach out to socially moderate fiscal conservatives (“South Park Republicans”). I don’t have much to add on these points (I recommend reading Gordon’s article), but while I was reading another question occurred to me: Why are the GOP so reluctant to make any genuine overtures towards the Tea Party movement?
As Gordon writes (he’s quoting Viguerie from American Thinker):
[T]he Republican establishment disdains this populist uprising. Rather than embracing this genuine movement, establishment politicians and consultants are calculating how to co-opt, sideline, or even defeat the newest phenomenon in politics: tea partiers.
I agree: they GOPs predominant reaction to the Tea Party varies between pretending they don’t exist and trying to figure out how to co-opt the movement. Given the way the Tea Parties are capturing the essence of populist opposition to Obama and the progressive wing of the Democratic Party one has to ask: why has the GOP shown so little attempt at genuine cooperation with the Tea Parties?
The Practical Explanation
This message simply does not compute for the Democratic Party, the MSM, or the GOP. The words are all in plain English, but they don’t make sense to these folks. The Tea Parties are incredible in the old-school sense of the world: they are unbelievable. When else in the history of the United States has a mass popular movement arisen that was asking the government not to give them something?
Robert Wallace is classical liberal studying economics in graduate school. He and his wife work as business analysis consultants, and they live as undercover conservatives with their two small children in a socialist bastion of a college town. He has been writing for America’s Right since December 2008.